Getaways Close to Home

Changing Our Approach to Travel 

“A change would do you good,” Sheryl Crow sang in 1997. For many of us who have stayed close to home since the start of the pandemic, that pop refrain rings true. 

I didn’t know just how much I missed traveling until we took our first overnight trip this year, to North Ocean City back in June. The two-and-a-half-hour drive that usually feels like a drag (a line of brake lights at the Bay Bridge, so many boring cornfields…) felt suddenly magical. The wide-open blue sky! The way the sun shone on farm irrigation systems we passed! Historic churches, produce stands! And that was all before we even reached the beach. 

It didn’t take plane tickets, a nice resort, or 10 hours in the car to feel like we were “getting away.” Crossing the Chesapeake Bay to a fresh set of sights and sounds did the trick.  

This summer, a lot of Marylanders are looking for new experiences close to home given the uncertainty of flying, gathering with out-of-town family, and spending time in potentially high-risk states. 

That’s why we at Bay Weekly were inspired to come up with less-obvious vacation destinations that will take you no more than two hours to get to. For this week’s issue, we looked to the CBM team to crowdsource creative trips. In our cover story, Krista Pfunder dreams up an eagle-watching, picnicking, garden-strolling trip to Pennsylvania that I want to sign up for immediately. Susan Nolan, a history lover, digs up some surprising finds in Maryland’s first capital city of St. Mary’s. Jill BeVier Allen, who just invested in a camper, is setting her sights on places to explore by RV. CBM boat cruising guru Capt. Jody Argo Schroath shares a luxurious boating itinerary on Herring Bay (a sneak peek of next month’s CBM Weekends on the Water special edition). And Kathy Knotts recounts a trip out west (not THAT far “out west,” just to Frederick County) that she took with her own family this summer. 

Truth be told, some of my favorite vacation memories in recent years have been just this kind of trip. With two squirmy toddlers under our care, the thought of long plane rides or distant locales didn’t hold much appeal for my husband and me even before the coronavirus. In addition to the afore-mentioned Ocean City trips, we’ve spent a couple of long weekends near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in recent years. Our tactic is to choose Airbnb rentals that offer an experience in themselves: in 2018 we stayed in a cottage on the premises of Caprikorn Goat Farm, with goats, pigs and a large sheepdog to greet us every morning. The kids liked it so much that in 2019 we found a Virginia farm raising llamas, sheep, and holding farmhouse weddings to host us. Both trips were a two-hour drive from home—manageable even for high-energy little boys demanding to stop and stretch their legs every 30 minutes. 

We hope that the ideas in Bay Weekly will help you find a new way to vacation within the comfort of the Chesapeake watershed. You may not realize it yet, but a change could do you good.